Pre-Parliament Event: Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, USA
July 26, 2009

Make a World of Difference!

Hearing Each Other, Strengthening Community

Consider that visiting friends is a necessary custom, whatever they be, on foot, or mounted. And if it be an enemy, this act of kindness is still good, for many an enemy by kindness becomes a friend. And even if he does not become a friend, his enmity is lessened, since kindness is a salve to enmity. Besides these, there are ma advantages in visiting, but I am fearful of prolixity, good friend. The sum and substance is this: Be the friend of all. Like an idol-maker carve out a friend from stone because the multitude and concourse of a caravan will break the backs and spears of highway robbers.

Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273)

On July 26, a hot, sunny Sunday, 112 people from many faiths and perspectives and 5 counties (plus one from Spokane and one from Tennessee!) gathered to engage with each other in conversations that matter about strengthening our regional community.

Participants learned about the Parliament of the World’s Religions event in Melbourne this coming December and then turned to each other around small tables to share stories and learn from each other about one of the major program themes that will be considered in Melbourne: Strengthening Social Cohesion in Village and City.

Using the World Café process, people from 15 to 91 years of age met and shared with each other what inspires us, how we connect with people different from our selves and what gives us hope for strengthening our community in the region.   Supported by great refreshments, we engaged in three rounds of conversation with different people each time, making new connections, strengthing existing relationships and learning from each other.

At the end of the afternoon, the whole group created a mural of what gives us hope in our region, that our ambassadors to the December Parliament gathering will take to Melbourne to share with thousands coming from around the world, during the week-long event.  Then the mural will return home as the centerpiece of our Post-Parliament event, February 21, 2010 (details under development, see below).

Download and print the Save the Date flyer (below) and put this exciting event on your calendar.  Plan to attend and bring a friend!

And return to this web page often to see the developing details of the Parliament in Melbourne, and the plans for our Post-Parliament event!

Looking ahead:

This Pre-Parliament event focused on the theme of building community, one of the major program themes of the Melbourne Parliament event. Engaging each other in ways that strengthen social cohesion across our region provides us with a beginning experience that we wish to build on over the coming year -- and beyond.

Post-Parliament Event, Sunday, February 21, 2010:


We will support the relationships and friendships forged in the Pre-Parliament event with another event after the Parliament

  • To hear from those returning from Melbourne what they experienced
  • To share personal experiences since and as a result of our Portland/Vancouver Pre-Parliament event
  • To consider how we might bring the spirit of Melbourne into our region in an on-going way!

Staying connected and supporting work of mutual interest across our region:

As you uncover shared convictions and concerns, we encourage you to

  • Stay connected with your new friends and support each other’s initiatives where your interests converge
  • Participate in each other’s events
  • Respond to invitations to come back together to learn more about what people are doing in the region and expand your network of diverse connections to

Make a World of Difference!